Pasta with Meatballs and Sauce

  • Yield 6 servings

A classic meat combo for meatballs is about one third each of veal, beef and pork. You can often find this in the meat area of the supermarket labeled “meat loaf mixture,” and if so, your work is done.

Pasta-with-Meatballs-Sand-Sauce-Relish-Recipe.jpg
Todd Coleman

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
2 -- (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, in purée
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
-- Freshly ground black pepper
Meatballs and Spaghetti:
1 -- slice plain bread
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 pounds ground meat, preferably a combination of beef, pork and veal
1 -- egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for cooking the pasta
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-- Nonstick cooking spray
4 cups tomato sauce or 4 cups store-bought tomato sauce
1 -- (16-ounce) package dried pasta, anything from spaghetti to ziti to rigatoni

Instructions

  1. To prepare sauce, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes, if using. Add salt and pepper and bring sauce to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes. Makes about 7 cups, serves 6.
  2. To prepare meatballs, tear bread into pieces and combine with milk. Let stand 5 minutes, until milk is absorbed.  Shred bread into little pieces.
  3. Place meat in a large bowl. Add soaked bread, egg, Parmesan (if using), parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your hands, blend well but try not to squeeze too much. Form into meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  5. Arrange meatballs on baking
  6. sheet so that they are not touching. Bake 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, bring tomato sauce to a simmer in a medium-size pot over medium-low heat. Add meatballs to sauce and let them simmer until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
  8. While meatballs are cooking, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and serve with sauce and meatballs. Serve extra Parmesan on the side to sprinkle over the meatballs, if you like.  Makes about 20 meatballs.

Per serving: 611 calories, 21g fat, 104mg chol., 32g prot., 72g carbs., 6g fiber, 860mg sodium.

Reprinted with permission from Katie Workman's The Mom100 Cookbook (Workman Publishing, 2012).

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